Bruno Mussolini


Bruno Mussolini (22 April 1918 – 7 August 1941) was the son of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and Mussolini's wife Rachele, the nephew of Arnaldo Mussolini, and also the grandson of Alessandro Mussolini and Rosa Mussolini. He was an experienced pilot who died in a flying accident.

Bruno Mussolini
Bruno Mussolini.jpg
Mussolini in 1941
Born(1918-04-22)22 April 1918
Died7 August 1941(1941-08-07) (aged 23)
Pisa, Kingdom of Italy
Cause of deathFlying accident
RelativesBenito Mussolini (father)
Aviation career
Air forceRoyal Italian Air Force
RankAir sergeant


Bruno Mussolini was born in Milan in Lombardy. His father, Benito Mussolini, was the editor of the newspaper Il Popolo d'Italia ("The People of Italy") before Bruno's birth and, on 22 April 1918, was away for the day in Genoa. Mussolini indicated to his wife that he did not want her to give birth before his return. In his words: "I don't want to be the last to be told again, as I was with Vittorio." That evening, the manager of the newspaper greeted Mussolini at the station with a broad grin and the words: "It's a boy."[1]


In 1919, Bruno Mussolini caught diphtheria and his parents feared he would never recover. Soon after the doctors pronounced him out of danger, he suffered from a bronchial complaint. By this time, one-year-old Bruno's weight had dropped to about 15 pounds (6.8 kg).[2]

As a young student, 9-year-old Bruno adeptly, if not correctly, answered a schoolteacher's question about grammar. An examiner is reported to have said: "Now Bruno, tell me what person one cannot command." In response, Bruno tactfully responded: "There are two persons one cannot command, the King and my father."[3]

Bruno (left), with father and brother Vittorio, on the cover of Time, 28 October 1935.

At age 12, Bruno took after his father and tackled journalism. He and his older brother Vittorio published a weekly called La Penna del Ragazzi ("The Boys' Pen").[4]

Bruno grew to like boxing, women, and cars.[5] In 1935, at age 17, Bruno became Italy's youngest pilot.[6]


On 7 November 1938, Bruno married Gina Ruberti [nb 1] in Rome.[nb 2] His wife was the daughter of the head of the Ministry of Education's Contemporary Art Bureau. On 18 March 1940 in Rome, Bruno and his wife had their first child, a daughter, named Marina.


In 1935, Bruno Mussolini joined the Royal Italian Air Force (Regia Aeronautica Italiana) and became a pilot. He flew for the Regia Aeronautica during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War. In September, before the Kingdom of Italy invaded the Ethiopian Empire, Air Sergeant Bruno Mussolini, 17, Air Second Lieutenant Vittorio Mussolini, 18, and Air Captain Count Nobile Galeazzo Ciano, 32, sailed from Naples to Africa aboard the MS Saturnia.[7] After Ethiopia, Bruno also participated in the Spanish Civil War and World War II. Unlike his brother Vittorio, Bruno was considered to be a serious pilot. In addition to participating in various conflicts, Bruno was involved in setting flight airspeed records in a 1938 flight to Brazil.[8]


On 7 August 1941, the 23-year-old Mussolini, commander of the 274a Squadriglia (274th Squadron), was flying in one of the prototypes of the "secret" Piaggio P.108B bomber, MM22003,[citation needed] near the San Giusto Airport in Pisa, when he crashed into a house.[9] The cockpit section was separated from the rest of the aircraft and Bruno Mussolini died of his injuries. The machine did not catch fire but was nevertheless totally destroyed in the impact. Five members of the crew were injured and three died, including Bruno. Benito Mussolini rushed to the Santa Chiara Hospital to be at the side of his dead son.[10]

Bruno's death prompted his father to compose a booklet entitled "I Talk With Bruno" (Parlo con Bruno). The booklet implied timeless intimacy between the two and mixed Fascist, Catholic, and familial piety.[11]


Robert Downey, Jr. portrayed Bruno Mussolini in the TV mini-series Mussolini: The Untold Story in 1985.[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Also spelled Gena Ruberti. See Gina Bellman.
  2. ^ According to the British Pathé short, "Bruno Mussolini Weds". The groom's father escorted the bride.


  1. ^ Mussolini/Zarca, Mussolini, p. 26
  2. ^ Mussolini/Zarca, Mussolini, p. 40
  3. ^ "Smart Bruno". Time.
  4. ^ "Journalism is Life". Time.
  5. ^ Bosworth, p.345
  6. ^ "Bruno's Last Flight". Time.
  7. ^ "With, Without or Against". Time.
  8. ^ "Down in Flames". Time.
  9. ^ Bignozzi 1986, p. 305
  10. ^ "Bruno's Last Flight". Time.
  11. ^ Bosworth, p. 346
  12. ^ Miki Turner (18 November 2000). "'Ally' Creator Hopes Downey Jr. Helps Ratings". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 15 September 2014.


  • Bignozzi, Giorgio. "The Italian 'Fortress' (part 1)." Air International Vol. 31 No. 6, December 1986. p. 298-305, (part 2). Air International Vol. 32 No. 1, January 1987. p. 29-31, p. 47-49.
  • Bosworth, R. J. B. (2005). Mussolini's Italy: Life Under the Fascist Dictatorship, 1915-1945. New York: Penguin Press. pp. 692. ISBN 1-59420-078-5.
  • Emiliani, Angelo (April 1998). ""Mon duel avec le fils du Duce", ou l'histoire d'un bluff!" [My Duel with the Son of the Duce, or the Story of a Bluff!]. Avions: Toute l'aéronautique et son histoire (in French) (64): 14–16. ISSN 1243-8650.
  • Mussolini, Rachele (1974). Mussolini: An Intimate Biography by His Widow (as told to Albert Zarca). New York: William Morrow. pp. 291. ISBN 0-688-00266-8.

External linksEdit